Paula Abdul is looking back at her time as a judge on American Idol – as the singing competition premiered 18 years ago this week on Fox as a summer replacement – and she recently revealed that she threatened to quit the show in 2008 after fighting with Simon Cowell and Randy Jackson over Season 7 contestant, David Cook. Abdul says that producers wanted to cut him after Hollywood Week and Cowell and Jackson “weren’t big believers” in Cook. But, she knew he could win the show.
“I threatened to quit the show because I believed so much in David Cook, and Simon and Randy weren’t big believers,” Abdul recently told Us Weekly. “I said, ‘This is crazy. I think this guy can win.’ This was before The Green Mile. It was right after Hollywood Week. And I said, ‘You guys are wrong. You’re wrong. And I’m so steadfast on this. He can win this show.’ And that is the truth.”
The Straight Up singer said that they actually shut down production for hours. She explained that Jackson was originally going for Cook, but then he changed his mind after Cowell “got to him.” The producers let the three judges battle it out, and Abdul continued to fight for Cook until Cowell and Jackson gave in.
In the end, Abdul says that “it all worked out fine,” as the “dark horse” Cook surprisingly won Season 7 over David Archuleta in one of American Idol’s highest-rated finales ever. After 31 million people watched Cook win the show, he went on to record a platinum album with two hit singles: Come Back to Me and Time of My Life (the best-selling Idol coronation single until Phillip Phillips’ Home topped it four years later in 2012).
— David Cook News/Info (@FoolsApril64) June 11, 2020
Paula Abdul believes that each season the contestant who “needs to win” usually ends up getting the most votes and winning the show. However, being named the American Idol isn’t a requirement for the top contestants to achieve success in the music industry. Sometimes, says Abdul, when a person wins the show it doesn’t mean as much as the person who gets second place.